American Association for Cancer Research
10780432ccr180440-sup-196707_2_supp_5323285_pmfzzh.pdf (108.34 kB)

Supplementary Figure S4 from Combined Aurora Kinase A (AURKA) and WEE1 Inhibition Demonstrates Synergistic Antitumor Effect in Squamous Cell Carcinoma of the Head and Neck

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journal contribution
posted on 2023-03-31, 20:49 authored by Jong Woo Lee, Janaki Parameswaran, Teresa Sandoval-Schaefer, Kyung Jin Eoh, Dong-hua Yang, Fang Zhu, Ranee Mehra, Roshan Sharma, Stephen G. Gaffney, Elizabeth B. Perry, Jeffrey P. Townsend, Ilya G. Serebriiskii, Erica A. Golemis, Natalia Issaeva, Wendell G. Yarbrough, Ja Seok Koo, Barbara Burtness

Supplementary Figure S4 related to Figure 5D-F. (A) Individual tumor volume changes in Detroit 562-xenografted mice treated with vehicle, adavosertib (30 mg/kg, daily, p.o.), alisertib (30 mg/kg, daily, p.o.), or the combinations of alisertib with adavosertib. Tumor volume changes of all mice belonged to this study was shown in bottom panel (n = 6 per group). Significant differences between the combination and single drug alone are shown. (B) Body weight (g) of mice was monitored every other day. Graphs depict Mean {plus minus} SEM.



Human papillomavirus (HPV)-negative head and neck squamous cell carcinomas (HNSCC) commonly bear disruptive mutations in TP53, resulting in treatment resistance. In these patients, direct targeting of p53 has not been successful, but synthetic lethal approaches have promise. Although Aurora A kinase (AURKA) is overexpressed and an oncogenic driver, its inhibition has only modest clinical effects in HPV-negative HNSCC. We explored a novel combination of AURKA and WEE1 inhibition to overcome intrinsic resistance to AURKA inhibition.Experimental Design: AURKA protein expression was determined by fluorescence-based automated quantitative analysis of patient specimens and correlated with survival. We evaluated treatment with the AURKA inhibitor alisertib (MLN8237) and the WEE1 inhibitor adavosertib (AZD1775), alone or in combination, using in vitro and in vivo HNSCC models. Elevated nuclear AURKA correlated with worse survival among patients with p16(−) HNSCC. Alisertib caused spindle defects, G2–M arrest and inhibitory CDK1 phosphorylation, and cytostasis in TP53 mutant HNSCC FaDu and UNC7 cells. Addition of adavosertib to alisertib instead triggered mitotic entry and mitotic catastrophe. Moreover, in FaDu and Detroit 562 xenografts, this combination demonstrated synergistic effects on tumor growth and extended overall survival compared with either vehicle or single-agent treatment. Combinatorial treatment with adavosertib and alisertib leads to synergistic antitumor effects in in vitro and in vivo HNSCC models. These findings suggest a novel rational combination, providing a promising therapeutic avenue for TP53-mutated cancers.

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